Flyers

Kids will be kids — and the Flyers love it

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Kids will be kids — and the Flyers love it

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dave Hakstol has devised a lot of successful combinations this season.

Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

But the Flyers' coach is not about to take credit for the unique and rather quirky pairing of Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny.

Oh, they have chemistry alright, even though it has nothing to do with the head coach’s line combinations.

Konecny and Patrick’s bond started to become apparent once they began sharing a hotel room on road trips. 

“I started with Provorov and then a few guys got called up and then we switched off and we started rooming together,” Patrick said Wednesday. “It just kind of happened. We have a really good relationship and it’s been lots of fun.”

Patrick can’t put his finger on it precisely, but a rough estimate for when it happened would be sometime around the holidays when the Flyers were laboring through a 1-2-1 stretch not long after their six-game winning streak.

Conveniently, their “buddy system” has spilled over into the locker room whether it’s a routine day of practice, a morning skate or a thrilling overtime win. If they’re at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, or in the visitor’s locker room of the opposition’s arena, the nameplates of Konecny and Patrick are always right next to each other. The two bang into each other while also expressing this juvenile sense of humor that only they seem to understand.

Watching their behavior is reminiscent of the days of spit wads, wet willies and flicking your best friend in the ear lobe — at least in my generation.

“He probably brings out the immaturity in me a little bit,” Patrick said. “He’s a really funny guy and I don’t know if he ever runs out of energy. He’s always talking 24/7. He’s just a pretty funny guy.”

These kind of relationships are commonly formed in college dormitories, but Patrick and Konecny are forging that bond now at hockey’s highest level. Patrick always knew about Konecny and vice versa, but considering Patrick played in the Western Hockey League and Konecny was honing his skills in the Ontario Hockey League, their paths never crossed until the Flyers drafted Patrick this past summer.

“It developed right when I got here,” Patrick said. “He was a super nice guy to me when I got here. He made me feel welcomed here.”

They’re now the odd couple with a lot in common. Obviously passionate about hockey, they also share a love of the outdoors whether it’s hunting or fishing, and they apparently possess a sense of humor that Beavis and Butt-Head would seem to appreciate, especially with their movie selections.

“They’re just stupid, funny movies,” Patrick said. “A lot of guys give it to us that they’re the dumbest movies ever. We just cry laughing watching them.”

“I feel like I’m quoting their movies as much as they are,” Jordan Weal said. “It’s pretty funny when you see those two getting together. It’s fun to join in and get the banter going. It’s a 19 and a 20-year-old kid. They’re having a lot of fun, they’re playing really well. They’re getting to room together on the road all over the country. They’re having fun right now and it’s good to see.”

It should come as little surprise that both Patrick and Konecny have elevated their play since they became road trip roommates. Konecny has torn it up on a line with Giroux and Couturier, and Patrick has become much more assertive offensively over the past few weeks and is now centering Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Following Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Carolina, Patrick was awarded the Rick Flair “Nature Boy” robe as the game’s top player for the first time this season, and when Patrick scored the game-tying goal with 2.6 seconds remaining against the Senators, Konecny rushed over to celebrate. 

The Patrick-Konecny dynamic is a reminder throughout this intensity-filled season with the tension and stress that comes in the constant battle for playoff positioning, they’re still just kids enjoying a kid’s game.

Wednesday morning was another optional skate that many veterans sat out in an effort to rest their bodies, but Patrick and Konecny were right there along with the healthy scratches from the previous night. 

“Sometimes when you get in late and you've got to come to the rink the next day and have a practice, it’s always nice to have guys who keep it loose and keep it light to lift the spirits up a bit,” Weal said.

“That’s a hard thing to do. There are expectations among everybody individually,” Hakstol said. “There are a lot of things that go into being positive and productive when you come to the rink. Those two guys continue to grow together and the fact that they can help each other in doing that a little bit, I think that’s a positive. If those two young guys can draw off one another, that’s good for our team.”

Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.

The topic: Which Flyers player has the most to gain in the 2019-20 season? 

Hall

In 2018-19, Oskar Lindblom showed his true capabilities when he played more and was featured alongside other talented linemates.

Over the final 36 games of the season, Lindblom scored 21 points with an average ice time of 16:28. His 13 goals during that span were tied for third most on the Flyers, ahead of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

In 29 games prior to that stretch, Lindblom played just 10:38 a night, scored zero goals and collected three assists.

The 23-year-old should have plenty of opportunity out of the chute in 2019-20. He looks poised to play on the third line with a center like Nolan Patrick and a decent goal-scoring winger. If he continues to produce, Lindblom could climb into a top-six role, like he did for parts of last season. He'll likely see some power-play time, as well.

With a quick start and even more responsibility, Lindblom has the chance to flourish in just his second full NHL season. The 2014 fifth-round pick is also set to become a restricted free agent next offseason. A big jump in production will make for a bigger raise.

Destra

Season No. 3 holds a lot of potential for 20-year-old Nolan Patrick.

When he is confident in his abilities, everyone on the ice knows it. He's able to drive play, pull out fancy shots on goal near the crease and often seems like he has eyes in the back of his head with some of the looks he had this past season. Those moments simply don't stem from luck, they come from skill.

While these are both flashy and effective, we've seen them happen only in bursts, and oftentimes he disappears within the depth of the roster.

Kevin Hayes is a key to the young center's success and will provide the perfect opportunity for Patrick to grow into his expected role. Without the stress of being a top-six forward, he will be able to maximize his strengths with a smaller amount of ice time.

Fewer minutes will also limit the risk of injury and it's vital that the Flyers see a full season of production. From a concussion that held him back his rookie year to an upper-body injury at the jump of last season that kept him out 10 days, he has not had much luck in that area.

If Patrick remains healthy, puts up solid numbers as a third-liner (around the 40-50-point range) and possibly sees time on the second power-play unit, he could very well be the depth needed to stabilize this roster from top to bottom.

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Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

After being bought out by the Flyers in mid-June, Andrew MacDonald is getting his next shot.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old defenseman will try to make the Flames' roster by attending Calgary's training camp on a professional tryout.

NHL teams often take fliers on veteran players as they shape their rosters because it simply can't hurt. The Flyers are doing so this training camp with winger Chris Stewart (see story).

While he wasn't a fan favorite in Philadelphia because of his contract, MacDonald was one of the most respected players in the Flyers' dressing room. You'd think the Flames are taking into account what they've heard from others around the league about MacDonald and his impact off the ice.

MacDonald has played 586 career games and 23 in the postseason. Calgary has won just one playoff series over the past 10 seasons. During 2018-19, the Flames went 50-25-7 with 107 points during the regular season — second best in the NHL to only the Lightning — but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Calgary has a pretty strong defense, led by James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Mark Giordano, so making the roster won't be easy for MacDonald.

The Flyers bought out MacDonald for better cap flexibility and to open the door for some of their younger defensemen to take the next step. With the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, the Flyers have solid, accomplished guys to augment the younger group of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin.

"This guy is a consummate professional," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said of MacDonald in June. "We asked a lot of Andrew and by that I mean he was a player that played the left side, played the right side, he'd be a healthy scratch and then we'd put him back in the lineup. We asked him to play with young players and mentor them and bring stability to our back end.

"He's just a quality person and a guy that played a very effective two-way game for our team, but we are in a cap world and we made that tough decision today to try reallocate some of those dollars to maximize our chance to stay in the hunt on some players."

The Flyers will pay MacDonald $1,916,667 in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

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